View Full Version : how to trigger samples for an art installation

June 28th, 2011, 05:10 PM
Hey all, an artist friend of mine is doing some sculptures for an installation having to do with music. She would like the sample to start when someone walks up to the piece. I've been poking about the net trying to figure out who makes a device that will do that. she's thinking that a proximity trigger would be cooler than a pressure pad. Any Ideas?

June 28th, 2011, 05:13 PM

June 29th, 2011, 10:27 AM
Conceptually this is along the lines of a theme park style attraction a la Disney.

Perhaps you could connect proximity sensors to a device like an Alesis Trigger IO which can translate the sensor impulses into MIDI information which could be used to trigger a sampler or multiple samplers.

Then you would need to determine the best way to deliver the appropriate sample audio to the physical space of the corresponding artwork which means either a multichannel IO system on a single computer with multiple speakers or multiple systems, one per each art piece. The computer may prove to be the most efficient way.

There will of course be interesting limitations and bugs to work out, like how to deal with re-triggering during playback so as not to take away from the intended experience. And whether the proximity sensors require power to work and if the impulse can be accepted by the triggering device and making connectors to connect the sensors to the trigger IO device. And of course cabling. If the sensor won't work a foot switch or pressure switch should as that's basically what a drum trigger is.

I have a lot of experience triggering percussive, rhythmic and melodic phrase samples on the fly in a live situation from several triggering sources using Propellerheads Reason. Other samplers have similar capabilities. This situation is not terribly dissimilar. Ableton Live may be a better software solution than Reason.

I am currently helping to put together and electronic kit for a friend and came across the Alesis but anything that can take external triggers and translate to MIDI should work. I have an old Roland Octapad PAD-8 that can take 6 external triggers, the Alesis can handle 12.

This may be a little ghetto compared to Disney but it should suit the artist's purpose.

June 29th, 2011, 02:57 PM
Nile Rodgers just did something similar. Have a look at http://www.jpmuller.be/news/ It's pretty cool, and works with proximity. Maybe you can contact the artist to see how they did it?


June 29th, 2011, 03:06 PM
I'd consult with somebody doing home alarms and something similar.
Also, there is software for motion recognition for a webcam.

June 29th, 2011, 03:30 PM

I first thought of this, but you would have to add a DI box to block the phantom power required to make it work.

Just noticed it only does 42db of attenuation...

This box is pretty neat too for exhibitions to power up the fx lighting when somebody walks in.